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C5/C6 Went from Bad to Worse

cccaverccccaver Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I'll try to quickly summarize my injuries and what's happened in the past week. I need advice on several topics -

1. Finding a doctor to treat this
2. Is there anything I can be doing from home?
3. What the heck has happened to me ?!?

Anyways, I've probably had this herniation for longer, but December 2008 is when it started causing me problems. Until this past week the pain has been manageable using the following -

- Home traction device, stretches, exercises, low-dosage opioids, NSAID(s), and just generally babying my neck. To get rid of the numbness I've used the traction device followed by icing it. This has worked until now. I might add that every day was slightly different and pain level on average a 6 to 7.

I've had the following symptoms for the better part of 2.5 years.

- Intermittent numbness in my arms and hands (comes and goes), constant neck ache, tight upper back.

1 week ago Monday I all of a sudden started having bad numbness, weakness, and the pain level has soared. My upper back is tighter than ever and my arms are becoming very weak. I've finally got the numbness to go away (for now), but the spams and tense upper back muscles are causing me a ton of problems. This hurts like heck! These spasms are driving me nuts and my tense upper back is causing major weakness in my triceps.

Any idea what has happened? Herniation gotten worse? I've been through the whole conservative treatment, consulted with surgeon and pain mgmt doctor, and am currently being treated by my family doctor. My family doctor can only do so much for this problem and I need to find either a pain mgmt doctor or spine doctor to treat these new developments.

Any recommendations or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you. -C


  • I forgot to add -

    I am literally scared to death of needles (I'm one of those people who almost pass out from a shot). A spinal injection is my worst nightmare. I think I could accept surgery over a spinal injection.

    I've been browsing the web for a doctor and have came by a couple pain clinics advertising "trigger-point" injections. I think I could brave one of these and if you know anything about these, could you please advise if it helped or not.

    In advance, thank you very much for the time. Chronic pain sucks and there's no other way to put it.
  • What I think you really need to do is return to a doctor and let them do a full exam, along with new scans. You shouldn't be guessing as to what is going on, in my opinion. There are many members here whom were using conservative treatments then one day it turned on and never got better, while others get better so who really knows.

    As far as trigger point injections go it is no more than a pinch as far as I am concerned. They do them in the back of your neck, let the doctor know your fears and they will be sure you never see the needle. They do help with spasms. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Thanks you very much for the advice.

    I'm scared to death about what's going on and it's making it 100x worse. My doc has told me numerous time that at my age, surgery would likely cause me problems down the rd. I'm 32 and there was no specific injury that caused this.

    I have some lumbar compression that started around 7 years ago and at age 29 I got a "pinched nerve" in my neck that turned out to be the herniated disc.

    Any advice on what kind of doctor to see? While I have good insurance, 100$ here, 300$ there adds up -I don't want to see this doc to recommend me to this doc, so on so forth. I'm sure you know the drill. I don't even know what kind of doctor to see since I've been sticking with my family doc. most of the way through this...
  • If you have good insurance, I would try to see a few different specialists who are in-network: orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. You will realize that every doctor will give you a different suggestion on surgery or no surgery, what type of surgery you need, etc.

    I agree with tamtam about getting another full exam and new imaging. If you have tried conservative treatments and they no longer give you any relief, give the epidural steroid injections a try. The injections do cost more than surgery though. I ended up paying much more for the injections and my surgery cost me next to nothing.

    I also have no clue what caused my herniated disc and degeneration. I'm 42 and was not crazy about having surgery with all the stories of adjacent discs requiring fusion in the future. Unfortunately, I ran out of options. Good luck! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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